Leehi Yona

Study program:
PhD Environment and Resources
Current affiliation:
Stanford University

To better understand how methodologies and cultural norms affect climate policy making, Leehi Yona (environment and resources, Stanford University) investigates how policymakers synthesize scientific evidence into international and regional measures.


Translating scientific knowledge into action: climate policies and national greenhouse gas inventories

The peer-reviewed research evidence for human-caused climate change is overwhelming. Global society requires that political leaders respond swiftly and appropriately to this crisis. How do we better understand the ways in which climate science is intergrated into policymaking?

Leehi’s doctoral research integrates both ecological and political sciences to document and reassess the process through which scientific knowledge is synthesized for policy. The purpose of this research will be to develop and describe the ways in which policymakers make use of scientific evidence, both internationally as well as regionally.

Leehi’s research is guided by a desire to better understand the methodologies and cultural norms when it comes to climate change research, through first-hand experience with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. More specifically, she is studying the ways in which countries and regions use agreed-upon guidelines to calculate their greenhouse gas emissions – an oft-ignored process that is foundational to countries’ decisions to reduce emissions. At the core of this research are the forces at play that put science into practice as it relates to climate policy, and a desire to strengthen the science-policy relationship so as to develop more durable and effective emissions reductions.



Leehi Yona is pursuing interdisciplinary doctoral studies in Environment and Resources at Stanford University. Leehi’s graduate research focuses on ways to integrate climate change science and policy, and she is studying the ways in which governments and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change develop ways of reporting greenhouse gas emissions.

After completing CÉGEP studies in Arts and Sciences at Marianopolis College, Leehi pursued undergraduate studies at Dartmouth, in Hanover, New Hampshire. Leehi completed a Bachelor of Arts with High Honours in Environmental Studies and Biology, minored in Public Policy, and completed a Senior Fellowship, an opportunity awarded to students in their final year to pursue full-time independent studies in lieu of classes.

Leehi’s Senior Fellowship focused on academics, policymakers, and community organizers at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. She developed “leverage points” that youth participants to the UN could use to bring about change, and wrote two books for young people as part of her research.

Leehi received a Master of Environmental Science degree from Yale University in 2018. Her Master’s research focused on the same greenhouse gas inventory study that she is building on for her PhD.

Leehi is passionate about climate change justice and has written over 100 news articles and opinion pieces related to climate justice in the United States and Canada. As a community organizer, she has worked on campaigns to transition society away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, from local campaigns to the United Nations climate negotiations. At Dartmouth, she founded the Divest Dartmouth campaign to disinvest the university’s endowment from fossil fuel companies. In Leehi’s final undergraduate year, Divest Dartmouth organized a rally on campus that was the most co-sponsored event in the university’s history, and the largest climate rally in New Hampshire history.

A recipient of the Lieutenant-Governor of Québec’s Youth Medal, Leehi was named Canada’s Top Environmentalist Under 25 in recognition of her commitment to climate justice.


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